What to Wear for Fall Family Photos

What to Wear for Fall Family Photos

Fall is perhaps the most popular time for family photos, and with good reason. Mother Nature puts on its most brilliant display of colors and who can resist those gorgeous shades of copper, red, and gold? What to wear for fall family photos is a key question and concern I get from a lot of clients.

Families request this timeframe for sessions a LOT, but once they’ve booked, I often get asked the same question! To help you out, I’ve put together some quick tips to make this task a bit easier for you and your family!

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Step by Step Guide to the perfect fall family photo outfits!


In all of my sessions involving family, I ALWAYS recommend starting with mom’s outfit. This is typically the focal point that we will build remaining family member’s outfits around. Women’s clothing has more options and it is easier to build around than with men’s clothing. Conversely, you can also start with a child’s outfit if you wish this to be the focal point you build around.


Firstly, you’ll want to define your color palette for your fall family photos. This is very important- and depends on your own personal style as well. Once you have mom’s or the central outfit, you can choose a few coordinating colors. Generally speaking, I usually recommend pairing 2 or 3 tones together- and always include a neutral in this palette. Some examples are warm colors with soft neutrals, or bolder jewel tones paired back to dark blue or brown copper tones. The color palette really depends on the look you want to achieve. Softer muted tones will result in more classic neutral looks. Bolder jewel tones look amazing popping amidst all of that gold color as well. For muted shades, I like blush mixed with rust or purple, and soft rusts, or steel-y blue shades.


We don’t want to lose you in your clothing so clothes should fit nicely to the body. If you are going for something flowy, balance this out with delicate accessories. You can balance out a flowy top with fitted bottoms, or vice versa. It is ok to add a long cardigan or chunky sweater to add dimension to your outfit, but make sure it is balanced with something slimmer.


The key here is to coordinate your color palette, not to look identical to each other. Wearing all of the same color together or outfit looks dated, will age your portraits quickly, and takes away from you as individual people in your images.


The first thing I tell clients when inquiring about wardrobe is to AVOID PATTERNS. What I mean by this is, please do not put every single person in different patterns. When these are present, your eyes go directly to the patterns instead of your faces, especially when there are more than one. What I do recommend is to choose ONE pattern, for ONE person to wear that ties the rest of your color palette together, or IS the focal point for the main outfit that brings in the other colors that create your palette! Layering textured pieces in is beautiful and adds interest. This can be in the form of the types of fabrics you choose, a touch of lace, cable knit sweaters, ruffles, fur, a shawl, scarf, or other layering pieces.


I love accessories- and they can really tie an outfit together. Jewelry, a hat, or a wrap and shawl, can really add to your images, or even be used as a prop throughout the session.


I know it can be hard to keep men’s shirts neat if that’s what they’re wearing. Please bring those on hangers and dad can put them on at session start time. Similarly, please make sure that whatever other outfits you are wearing are steamed or ironed so that you look your best! Those things cannot be edited out in post!


Do think about your shoes! A lot of times shoes are an afterthought! Please do not wear athletic sneakers, bright white, tube socks, or dress shoes (mens) with white socks. Your child likely has a favorite pair of light up, sparkly, unicorn or superhero shoes or boots, but these photos are not the place for those! Neutral footwear is recommended. For men, dark brown dress shoes or boots always look fantastic. And for women, ankle or knee high boots work well, or maybe even a coordinating color chunky pump. For children, neutral classic shoes or booties will work perfectly. If in doubt, I can always help you with outfit suggestions.

A few other quick tips…

  • DO dress for the season
  • Just bring one outfit- it is less stressful not having to worry about an outfit change for everyone.
  • Make sure your hair and makeup look like how you want it to look in an outdoor environment. Remember, a super formal hairdo will look out of place in a casual fall environment with a breeze blowing.
  • Pinterest is also a great resource to look for family outfit inspiration!
  • If you have any doubts on what to wear, do not hesitate to reach out to me for help!
  • Finally, do make sure that everyone is comfortable in their outfits!

Avoid these…

  • Like multiple patterns drawing your eye, bright white glows in natural light outdoors, and will be a bright sore spot in the fall environment. Opt instead for softer tones in creams, oatmeal, ivory or light tan.
  • Black and Dark Grey. These colors will just deepen with the shadows and look like a dark undefined blob.
  • Athletic Sneakers
  • White Socks
  • Vertical Stripes and Small check plaids- these get distorted on camera and can look zig-zaggy and off color.
  • Tees with big logos, characters or tie dye will age your

Here are some mood boards for fun color palette inspiration!

Some of my favorite shops include…


  • Joyfolie– has some really nice solids in girls and ladies dresses in fun pop colors
  • Noralee – Dainty classically styled girls dresses
  • Zara – Solid staples and corduroy textures, chunky knits
  • Miou Knits – for adorable hand knits with a vintage feel
  • Eida Baby – stocks adorable Spanish and European styles for kids
  • The Paper Doll Clothing– vintage inspired twirly, poufy girls dresses


  • Baltic Born – great solid dresses and they usually have some amazing textured pieces in velvet, lace, or pleats. They have gorgeous fall color options right now!
  • Ivy City Co – coordinating/matching mom and girls dresses
  • Zara – usually has some great solid pieces
  • Elestory – coordinating mom and me pieces


Finally, scour Amazon for finds!

I will usually search Amazon for simple pieces like rompers, simple dresses with some texture, stockings, and knit options for kids if I can’t find what I need elsewhere. I’ve put together a little Amazon Storefront shop with some great pieces for kids!

Using these tips, what to wear for your fall family photos should no longer be an issue. Hopefully these tips will help you create your family’s own gorgeous outfit combination!

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Known for my fine art style, and way of capturing moms and growing families in their most beautiful stages, I pride myself in providing you the perfect images for your family to treasure. I want you to have a stress-free experience, with hands on guidance through the whole process, culminating in perfect treasures for your family to hold and admire. Choose me as your New Jersey maternity & newborn photographer to capture all of those beautiful, ever-changing, motherhood moments!

– Sofia


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Sofia Ribeiro is a New Jersey Newborn & Maternity Photographer serving the North and Central New Jersey areas, including Union, Morris, Essex, Hudson, Passaic, Middlesex, Monmouth, Sussex & Hunterdon counties, as well as New York City, and Staten Island.